Biologist discovers world’s smallest snake, lizard, and frog!

My article “The Largest Snake that Ever Lived” proved to be my most popular post to date.  It’s not surprising. First of all, snakes can be incredibly beautiful: And a truly big snake is an amazing sight: Big snakes naturally evoke both awe and fear—who knows, maybe we have ancient memories of being their prey: … Continue reading

How scientists brought the power of the Sun to Earth

The super-amplified light impacts the target area with an intensity and ferocity only found in the hottest places in the universe. Imagine 500 times the energy of the entire United States being used at any given moment focused on a target smaller than a pinhead! In a few billionths of a second, the target reaches … Continue reading

Meet the creature that eats its own brain!

The sea squirt is one of my favorite sea creatures.  When I was a young boy, I first met my first one in a tidal pool in Laguna Beach, California.  I remember bending down close to examine it, and like any kid, I gave it a gentle poke.  Imagine my surprise when it squirted me … Continue reading

Meet the Amazing Salp

The first time I saw a photo of a colony of salp, I thought it was a picture of something from a science fiction movie: As a science and nature writer, I’ve become familiar with many sea creatures over the years. But somehow, I had never come across the salp before. What in the heck … Continue reading

Taking a look at landslides in California

Readers of this extreme science blog might want to stop by my Berkeley, Naturally! site and take a look at my latest post: Berkeley Hills Landslide We had a series of very powerful El Niño-related storms last week in California, and I wrote about the effects here in the Berkeley Hills and San Francisco Bay … Continue reading

How “Avatar” Inspires Love of Nature and Love of Science

Few recent movies have moved this nature-lover’s heart as much as the smash-hit “Avatar.” For anyone who loves nature and astonishingly beautiful plants and animals, the experiencing the world of Pandora was like entering a dream-come-true. In fact, that’s exactly how one New York Times reviewer described the movie—”a biologist’s dream.” The reviewer should know, … Continue reading

Amazing Oxygen-Key to Planetary Life

One of the best science books I read in 2009 was Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by biochemist Nick Lane. Although I think I have a good basic understanding of fundamental biological processes, I didn’t find the book an easy read, frankly. This is no criticism of Lane’s writing. The biological processes … Continue reading

The Red Demons of the Sea of Cortez

The fishermen of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico are said to call it Diablo Rojo, or Red Demon. They tell of fishermen who have fallen into the water and been dragged to horrible deaths, their bodies never recovered. The object of their fear and respect is one of the more formidable predators in the … Continue reading

We’re Killing Our Oceans

As readers of my blog know, I’m passionate about saving our environment from the effects of human pollution and reckless industrialization. In Global Warming and the Loss of Earth’s Coral Reefs I discussed the scientific evidence for the disastrous effects of ocean warming and increasing CO2 in ocean water on our planets reefs. In The … Continue reading

The Biggest Snake that Ever Lived

The anaconda is one big snake, as this capture picture shows: Now, imagine an anaconda-like snake that’s 3 times longer, 3 or 4 times bigger in diameter, and 6 to 8  times as heavy! No, this isn’t a fake monster from a bad Hollywood B-Movie! It’s an actual creature that lived in Columbia some 60 … Continue reading